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New Silk Road

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Marx. Lenin. Mao. Deng. Xi. Late last week in Beijing, the sixth plenum of the Chinese Communist Party adopted a historic resolution – only the third in its 100-year history – detailing major accomplishments and laying out a vision for the future. Essentially, the resolution poses three questions. How did we get here? How come... Read More
Forget about the incessant drumming of Cold War 2.0 against China. Forget about think-tank simpletons projecting their wishful thinking on the perpetual “end of China’s rise.” Forget even about a few sound minds in Brussels – yes, they do exist – saying Europe does not want containment of China; it wants engagement, which means business.... Read More
You don’t argue with the Tatmadaw – the Myanmar Armed Forces. It’s always their way, or the highway. Since the mid-20th century, the Chinese have come to understand it quite well. How Beijing approaches the Myanmar maze is conditioned by four variables: natural gas; water; the drug trade; and the fractious clashes between the Tatmadaw... Read More
Over a week ago the excruciatingly slow Doha peace talks between the Kabul government and the Taliban resumed, and then they dragged on for two days observed by envoys from the EU, US and UN. Nothing happened. They could not even agree on a ceasefire during Eid al-Adha. Worse, there’s no road map for how... Read More
Deploying diplomatic skills refined from Doha to Moscow, the Taliban in 2021 has little to do with its 2001 incarnation
A very important meeting took place in Moscow last week, virtually hush-hush. Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, received Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s national security adviser. There were no substantial leaks. A bland statement pointed to the obvious: They “focused on the security situation in Afghanistan during the pullout of Western military contingencies and... Read More
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The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) centennial takes place this week at the heart of an incandescent geopolitical equation. China, the emerging superpower, is back to the global prominence it enjoyed throughout centuries of recorded history, while the declining Hegemon is paralyzed by the “existential challenge” posed to its fleeting, unilateral dominance. A mindset of full... Read More
It requires major suspension of disbelief to consider the G7, the self-described democracy’s most exclusive club, as relevant to the Raging Twenties. Real life dictates that even accounting for the inbuilt structural inequality of the current world system the G7’s economic output barely registers as 30% of the global total. Cornwall was at best an... Read More
The upcoming G7 in Cornwall at first might be seen as the quirky encounter of “America is Back” with “Global Britain”. The Big Picture though is way more sensitive. Three Summits in a Row – G7, NATO and US-EU – will be paving the way for a much expected cliffhanger: the Putin-Biden summit in Geneva... Read More
The extraordinary confluence between the signing of the Iran-China strategic partnership deal and the Ever Given saga in the Suez Canal is bound to spawn a renewed drive to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and all interconnected corridors of Eurasia integration. This is the most important geoeconomic development in Southwest Asia in ages –... Read More
Capping an extraordinary two weeks that turned 21st century geopolitics upside down, Iran and China finally signed their 25-year strategic deal this past Saturday in Tehran. The timing could not have been more spectacular, following what we examined in three previous columns: the virtual Quad and the 2+2 US-China summit in Alaska; the Lavrov-Wang Yi... Read More
It will be fascinating to watch how the (Dis)United States will deal with post-coup Myanmar as part of their 24/7 “containment of China” frenzy. The (jade) elephant in the elaborate room housing the military coup in Myanmar had to be – what else – China. And the Tatmadaw – the Myanmar Armed Forces – knows... Read More
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So the Davos Agenda has come and gone. That was the virtual Great Reset preview, hosted by Kissinger acolyte cum World Economic Forum (WEF) oracle Herr Klaus Schwab. Still, corporate/political so-called “leaders” will continue to wax lyrical about the Fourth Industrial Revolution – or its mild spin-offs such as Build Back Better, the favorite slogan... Read More
It was hardly a secret throughout the Trump administration. Now, dying embers within sight, and with minimum fanfare, comes the declassification - virtually the whole document, minus a few redactions – of the US Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific. Why now, no less than 30 years before the usual, standard US declassification/public record protocols apply?... Read More
It’s one of those quintessential journeys that make people dream: Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad by train. Let’s call it ITI. Soon, in early 2021, ITI will become a reality. But, initially, just as a freight train. The deal was recently sealed at the 10th meeting of the transport and communication ministers of ECO (Economic Cooperation Organization) in Istanbul.... Read More
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Seven years after being launched by President Xi Jinping, first in Astana and then in Jakarta, the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) increasingly drive the American plutocratic oligarchy completely nuts. The relentless paranoia about the Chinese “threat” has much to do with the exit ramp offered by Beijing to a Global... Read More
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Ho Chi Minh, in his eternal abode, will be savoring it with a heavenly smirk. Vietnam was the - virtual - host as the 10 Asean nations, plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, on the final day of the 37th Asean Summit. RCEP, eight... Read More
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Everything about US-China hinges on the result of the upcoming US presidential election. Trump 2.0 essentially would turbo-charge its bet on decoupling, aiming to squeeze “malign” China on a multiple Hybrid War front, undermine the Chinese trade surplus, co-opt large swathes of Asia, while always insisting on characterizing China as evil incarnate. Team Biden, even... Read More
An Indian Train Ride. Credit: Asia Times/Facebook.
There was a time when New Delhi was proudly selling the notion of establishing its own New Silk Road – from the Gulf of Oman to the intersection of Central and South Asia - to compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Now it looks like the Indians have stabbed themselves in the back.... Read More
As much as Covid-19 has been instrumentalized by the 0.001% to social engineer a Great Reset, the Beirut tragedy is already being instrumentalized by the usual suspects to keep Lebanon enslaved. Facing oh so timely color revolution-style “protests”, the current Lebanese government led by Prime Minister Diab has already resigned. Even before the port tragedy,... Read More
Two of the US’s top “strategic threats” are getting closer and closer within the scope of the New Silk Roads – the leading 21st century project of economic integration across Eurasia. The Deep State will not be amused. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi blasted as "lies" a series of rumors about the “transparent roadmap”... Read More
The key takeaways of the Two Sessions of the 13th National People’s Congress in Beijing are already in the public domain. In a nutshell: no GDP target for 2020; a budget deficit of at least 3.6% of GDP; one trillion yuan in special treasury bonds; corporate fees/taxes cut by 2.5 trillion yuan; a defense budget... Read More
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Beijing is turbocharging its Belt and Road and other game-changing plans despite Covid-19 and US hybrid warfare
Amid the deepest economic contraction in nearly a century, President Xi Jinping had already made it very clear, last month, that China should be ready for unprecedented, relentless foreign challenges. He was not referring only to the possible decoupling of global supply chains and the non-stop demonization of every project related to the New Silk... Read More
When President Xi Jinping was on a phone call in mid-March with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti, before the arrival of a China Eastern flight from Shanghai to Milan full of medical help, the key takeaway was the Chinese pledge to develop a Health Silk Road (Jiankang Sichou Zhilu). That was in fact already inbuilt... Read More
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The New Silk Roads – or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – were launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, first in Central Asia (Nur-Sultan) and then Southeast Asia (Jakarta). One year later, the Chinese economy overtook the U.S. on a PPP basis. Inexorably, year after year since the start of the millennium, the U.S.... Read More
The Middle East is the key to wide-ranging, economic, interlinked integration, and peace
Under the cascading roar of the 24/7 news cycle cum Twitter eruptions, it’s easy for most of the West, especially the US, to forget the basics about the interaction of Eurasia with its western peninsula, Europe. Asia and Europe have been trading goods and ideas since at least 3,500 BC. Historically, the flux may have... Read More
Coming decade could see the US take on Russia, China and Iran over the New Silk Road connection
The Raging Twenties started with a bang with the targeted assassination of Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani. Yet a bigger bang awaits us throughout the decade: the myriad declinations of the New Great Game in Eurasia, which pits the US against Russia, China and Iran, the three major nodes of Eurasia integration. Every game-changing act in... Read More
Chinese cargo truck coming from the Kyrgiz-China border. Photo: Asia Times / Pepe Escobar
This journey into the past also reaches the heart of 21st century China’s New Silk Roads strategy
At the start of the Tang dynasty, in the early 7th century, a young wandering monk embarked on a 16-year long voyage from the imperial capital Chang’an (today’s Xian) to India to collect Buddhist manuscripts. At the time Chang’an was six times bigger than Rome at its height, with a population of over one million... Read More
Chinese container cargo trucks after crossing the Kulma pass at the Tajik-China border. Photo: Pepe Escobar / Asia Times
This is arguably the ultimate road trip on earth. Marco Polo did it. All the legendary Silk Road explorers did it. Traveling the Pamir Highway back to back, as a harsh winter approaches, able to appreciate it in full, in silence and solitude, offers not only a historical plunge into the intricacies of the ancient... Read More
Central Asia, betweem China and Europe, is bustling
We are cruising on a pristine, 380 km-long four-lane superhighway from Almaty to Khorgos – finished in 2016 for $1.25 billion, 85% of the cost covered by a World Bank loan. And then, suddenly, riding parallel to us, there’s the real superstar of New Silk Road connectivity. Meet Yuxinou, the container cargo train plying back... Read More
The pros and cons of being the Heartland in the 21st century
Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Crossing Tajikistan from west to northeast – Dushanbe to the Tajik-Kyrgyz border – and then Kyrgyzstan from south to north all the way to Bishkek via Osh, is one of the most extraordinary road trips on earth. Not only this is prime Ancient Silk Road territory but now is being propelled as a... Read More
US-Australia-Japan alternative to Belt and Road helps explain why the US sent a junior delegation to Thailand and why...
Chinese President Xi Jinping six years ago launched New Silk Roads, now better known as the Belt and Road Initiative, the largest, most ambitious, pan-Eurasian infrastructure project of the 21st century. Under the Trump administration, Belt and Road has been utterly demonized 24/7: a toxic cocktail of fear and doubt, with Beijing blamed for everything... Read More
Biggest story at ASEAN was convergence of moves toward Asia integration, leaving Delhi out for now
A pan-Asia high-speed train has left the station – and India – behind. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which would have been the largest free trade deal in the world, was not signed in Bangkok. It will probably be signed next year in Vietnam, assuming New Delhi goes beyond what ASEAN, with diplomatic finesse... Read More
Modi and Putin discuss business and joint ventures at an economic conference in the Far East
There’s no way to follow the complex inner workings of the Eurasia integration process without considering what takes place annually at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. BRICS for the moment may be dead – considering the nasty cocktail of economic brutalism and social intolerance delivered by the incendiary “Captain” Bolsonaro in Brazil. Yet RIC... Read More
Erdogan looks set to buy Russian missile defense system in defiance of US and NATO, tying his cart to China and Russia
Turkey is a key hub in the emerging New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative. Erdogan is a master at selling Turkey as the ultimate East-West crossroads. He has also expressed much interest in joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), led by Russia-China, whose annual summit took place in Bishkek a few days before... Read More
Sleepy, landlocked Laos is undergoing rapid changes as China builds connections to mainland Southeast Asia
The small wooden boats slowly make their way down the brown waters of the Mekong at sunset. Flowing meditation – just enjoying the silence, watching the river flow. Then, suddenly, in the distance, an apparition – a row of cement Ts. Like a high-tech divinity, the 21st century irrupts across the immemorial Mekong, which in... Read More
President Xi Jinping is due to arrive in Italy for an official visit on March 22. The top theme of discussion will be the New Silk Road, or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). A day earlier, in Brussels, the EU is to debate a common strategy related to Chinese investments in Europe. A substantial... Read More
Russia is keen to push economic integration with parts of Asia and this fits in with China's Belt and Road Initiative
The concept of Greater Eurasia has been discussed at the highest levels of Russian academia and policy-making for some time. This week the policy was presented at the Council of Ministers and looks set to be enshrined, without fanfare, as the main guideline of Russian foreign policy for the foreseeable future. President Putin is unconditionally... Read More
US sanctions on Iran should be interpreted as a piece in a much larger chessboard
Hysteria reigned supreme after the first round of US sanctions were reinstated against Iran over the past week. War scenarios abound, and yet the key aspect of the economic war unleashed by the Trump administration has been overlooked: Iran is a major piece in a much larger chessboard. The US sanctions offensive, launched after Washington’s... Read More
It came out as a sort of minor scandal – considering the ’24/7 post-truth news cycle.’ Of the 28 EU ambassadors in Beijing, 27, with the exception of Hungary’s, signed an internal report criticizing the New Silk Roads as a non-transparent threat to free trade, allegedly favoring unfair competition by Chinese conglomerates. The report was... Read More
The geopolitical focus of the still young 21st century spans the Indian Ocean from the Persian Gulf all the way to the South China Sea alongside the spectrum from Southwest Asia to Central Asia and China. That happens to configure the prime playing ground, overland and maritime, of the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. Belt and... Read More
New Silk Road infrastructure projects could bring back a peaceful and prosperous Eurasia
The geopolitical focus of the still young 21st century spans the Indian Ocean from the Persian Gulf all the way to the South China Sea alongside the spectrum from Southwest Asia to Central Asia and China. That happens to configure the prime playing ground, overland and maritime, of the New Silk Roads, or the Belt... Read More
Xi's extended tenure could embody the guarantee China needs to continue its anti-corruption purge and guide the ongoing...
It took only two sentences for Xinhua to make the historical announcement; the Central Committee of the CCCP “proposed to remove the expression that ‘the president and vice-president of the People’s Republic of China shall serve no more than two consecutive terms’ from the country’s constitution.” That will be all but confirmed at the end... Read More
China's Belt and Road Initiative – the New Silk Road – will spark the country's development and turn the dream into...
Now that President Xi Jinping has been duly elevated to the Chinese Communist Party pantheon in the rarified company of Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory, the world will have plenty of time to digest the meaning of “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.” Xi himself, in his... Read More
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Amid the proverbial doom and gloom pervading all things Syria, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune sometimes yield, well, good fortune. Take what happened this past Sunday in Beijing. The China-Arab Exchange Association and the Syrian Embassy organized a Syria Day Expo crammed with hundreds of Chinese specialists in infrastructure investment. It was a... Read More
Inclusive globalization, win-win global trade, Made in China 2025 ... President Xi uses Belt and Road Forum to explain...
President Xi Jinping, in his keynote speech that opened the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, did his best to explain the future of the New Silk Roads. Xi said that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – that what was once “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) – is a multilateral... Read More
History will record the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing marked the juncture where the 21st century New Silk Roads assumed their full character of Globalization 2.0, or “inclusive globalization,” as defined by President Xi Jinping in Davos earlier this year. I have dealt with the monumental stakes here and here. Terminology, of course, remains... Read More
If it’s a trade war with China he would rather have, the new president will find himself on the back foot from day one Hysteria reigns supreme at the dawn of the Trump era, with the President rebranded across the whole ideological spectrum as an American Mao or even an American Hitler. Let’s step away... Read More
A half-hearted near handshake between US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin before and after they spoke «for about four minutes», standing up, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Lima, Peru, captured to perfection the melancholic dwindling of the Obama era. A whirlwind flashback of the fractious relationship... Read More
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Almost six years ago, President Putin proposed to Germany ‘the creation of a harmonious economic community stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok.’ This idea represented an immense trade emporium uniting Russia and the EU, or, in Putin’s words, “a unified continental market with a capacity worth trillions of dollars.” In a nutshell: Eurasia integration. Washington panicked.... Read More
Almost six years ago, President Putin proposed to Germany ‘the creation of a harmonious economic community stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok.’ This idea represented an immense trade emporium uniting Russia and the EU, or, in Putin’s words, “a unified continental market with a capacity worth trillions of dollars.” In a nutshell: Eurasia integration. Washington panicked.... Read More
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